Recently, we, Bright Hawk and Hollis began reconnecting with our sense of adventure and exploration. In the past we traveled every day, well most days, in our van as we slowly made our circle around the USA. We have blogged about our adventures in the past. From Oregon in the winter, California and Arizona in the spring, stopping here at home in Colorado before we began our summer tour on the east coast of the United States. Then slowly exploring the Great Lakes and the Heartland of the USA before we stopped back in Colorado in the fall. We did this for years and it became a lifestyle we both came to appreciate and celebrate. We felt lucky to be compelled by nature and adventure to see more.
The Universe has matched us perfectly, we have been able to respect each other’s boundaries, learned to take space when we needed it, and make sure we really listened to our instincts about staying in certain places or visiting a certain area. It was as if the universe had created us for each other, especially in travel. We are just really good at supporting each other, having fun with each other and remaining curious together.
Our travel was motivated by being of service in a good way. Our non-profit, Let’s Dance Activites specialized in visiting communities of elderly people in facilities nationwide. We offered a completely unique music and movement program that literally touched thousands of people, especially elderly people. It was an amazing experience and of course it all ended in 2020.
Many elements brought us off the road all at once, Covid-19 of course was a big factor in our decision to come off the road. We also had some personal issues to deal with as well as some health challenges presenting to Hollis that needed the attention of doctors. 2020 turned out to be a very intense year for both of us but we were held by our community online and in that we are eternally grateful for the love and support community is offering to each other through this challenging time. We found ourselves grateful for our sanctuary in the mountains with clean air, peaceful neighbors and even room for us to adopt a dog, Charlie. The healing ensued through 2020 and continues in 2021 and we are grateful that the 3 of us, Hollis, Bright Hawk and Charlie have created a bubble of healing every day for all of us. We still continue to do online events.
Yet wanderlust lingered in the back of our minds like a long lost friend and both of us found ourselves curious about Colorado State Parks. With the intention to begin to explore, heal from health challenges, and teach Charlie the ways of the road we vowed to explore Colorado State Parks in 2021. Because we have actually been to very few it was easy for us to to find new places to go! Time to explore our local community, and since its rich with wilderness, wildlife and adventure we found ourselves grateful for our camper van. Offering us comfort everywhere we travel yet still helping us get out to the wilderness!
One of the largest lesser known parks just north of Rocky Mountain National Park is called “State Forest State Park” aka “North Park- Never Summer Park”. I have to admit the promise of ‘Never Summer’ was exciting for both of us and we decided to explore during the hottest month of the year, August. Although some free campsites were available we decided the primitive camping was inexpensive enough to save us gas of driving in and out of this VERY large park. Especially since it was so large we could easily explore for a couple of days. The park is known for their moose population and although we have a neighbor we call Bullwinkle, an actual moose that moves through our land on a regular basis, we were still excited to spend some time in moose country.
There were two ways to get there and of course we took the scenic route! Driving through the Rocky Mountains can sometimes feel like a roller coaster but the scenery is breathtaking. The highway twists and turns through the Rocky Mountains from Golden up into Idaho Springs, to Granby before we intended to take Rt. 40 to 125 where the scenic drive would bring us into Walden, CO just outside State Forest State park. As we began on Rt. 125 we began to notice the scars of 2020, the burn scars. The trees were burnt and the undergrowth looked very fresh so we were not surprised to see the road sign that indicated the ROAD was CLOSED due to mudslides. With the recent rains this year, which in many ways are a blessing here in Colorado because they reduce the risk of fires, they also cause things like mudslides. With no internet connection we scrambled for the atlas. We were both grateful we kept one under the seat for just this kind of situation. As we consulted the map we realized we had a very long detour. We had just realized that now another 90 full minutes of driving would be added to our already 3 hours drive. We knew this feeling, we both took a deep breath and pushed forward with hopes to arrive at our campsite before dark. Any plans for a short hike that afternoon were lost with an extra 90 minute drive!
As we made our drive through the burned hills we couldn’t help but revisit 2020 in our minds. A challenging year for most of us and the scars were evident here on the hills, dead trees stand tall on the hill while others had fallen over. Some areas were being cleared while others were left to decompose. Somehow these dead trees reflected the scars of humanity, we had all suffered in some way in 2020. Some of us only suffered the separation from our communities while others also experience health or other wellness challenges, while others would say that 2020 was the most challenging time of their life. Now the scars had been burnt and the healing was beginning. It was easy to notice that among these burnt scars were flowers, thousands and thousands of flowers. Not just white or yellow flowers but red flowers, blue and purple flowers – and it seemed the whole rainbow had sprung up in the now open fields of flowers. That although dead trees were lying on the ground all around, the wild flowers whispered a promise of a beautiful tomorrow. Inspiring us all that although 2020 created detours, there is still beautiful life among the dead!
Look for PART 2 of the “Never Summer” Park